Ivica Buljan

Senka Bulić in Marko Mandić

Ana Savić Gecan

Mitja Vrhovnik Smrekar

Andraž Mazi / Miha Meglič / Tomislav Vedrina

Mini teater and Kazalište Hotel Bulić, Zagreb

Teatar & TD, Zagreb


Opening performance:
January 2010

Duration 90 min

About the performance

A performance inspired and created from the texts of J. D. Salinger and B.-M. Koltès. Three monologues of performance symbolically represent a new fictive world that separates and presents itself both as real and as a continuation of theatrical and literature space.

While organizing the logic of the scenery, the montage themes that the performance opens are versatile and everyday: the death of a child, the dispersion of a family, American democracy, the war in Vietnam, the relationship between classic and contemporary theatre, the art of warfare, the inability of communication between children and parents, power and isolation. Strong performances by Senka Bulić and Marko Mandić give us an in-depth understanding of Salinger's and Koltès's texts.

Ivica Buljan is one of the most productive directors of postdramatic theatre and has directed and toured all over Europe. His Ma and Al is based on texts by J. D. Salinger and Bernard-Maria Koltès in which the reader can recognize the parenting couple from the dysfunctional Glass family. The space is decorated with fragments of props, and the border between the real and the fictitious experience becomes blurred as the audience is called upon and drawn into the playful hysteria of the actors that play characters from the texts.

About the director

»Buljan’s theatre as it appears in an unusually wide and incredible opus from the last two years seem like »theatre-river«, for it flows with its unfailing emotive and energetic flow through the scenes as on one side thorough differentiated performative wave and as a whole theatrical magma on the other side and cleaning those scenes of unimportant and unneeded scenery, illustrative, psychological and symbolic »dirt«. His plays are thoroughly thought through yet always with trustworthiness and almost invisible softness carried out theatrical nudes in which the viewer takes a crucial place by side the actor - as a live witness of the passionate drive of male bodies slamming at each other in an attempt from whether his own or the body of the one next to him to root out, rip out, destroy the strength or life as such (Macbeth after Shakespeare), as an embarrassed voyeur at the turbulent erotic relationship between two loving/hating creatures that strangle and kill each other in front of his eyes (Ma and Al) or as a turned on member of the satire ritual that influences him more with its ecstatic texture than with its sophisticated »spiritual« structure (Kiklop).« Blaž Lukan, theatre critic

The director Ivica Buljan (1965) has taught as a guest professor at the Academie experimentalle des theatres in Paris, Brussels and Moscow and as a full-time professor at National Theatre schools in Saint Etienne and Rennes in France. In the period between 1998 and 2002 he was the director of the Croatian National Drama Theatre in Split, he is the co-founder of the Mini teater in Ljubljana and also the co-founder and artistic director of World theatre festival in Zagreb. As a director and dramaturg he stems from intense interest in modernist dramatics and poets such as Marina Tsvetaeva, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Heiner Müller, Robert Walser, Elfriede Jelinek, Miroslav Krleža, Botho Strauβ and Bernard-Marie Koltès while his productions took part in numerous international festivals in France, Portugal, Spain, Cuba, Seoul, Italy, Turkey, Venezuela, Austria, Greece, Macedonia, Belgium, Switzerland, Russia, Great Britain, Bulgaria, France, Iran, Poland, Slovakia and Albania.For his work he received a great number of prestigeous awards: The Dubravko Djušin Award (1997), the Petar Brečić Award  (1999), the Peristil Award (2001, for  Oedipus), the Borštnik Diploma and a Special Award from the Jury (2004), Grand Prix of Tempus Art festival (2004), and the Medal of the City of Havana (2005), Golden Lion for the best performances (2006 for Hamlet, 2007 for Princesse's Dramas), the Borštnik Award for the best Slovenian performance (2007 for Oedipus, 2010 for Macbeth after Shakespeare), the Sterija Award for the best performance (2008 for Oedipus), the Gavelle Award for the best performance (2010 for Garage), Grand Prix of Festival Rijeka (2011 for Cyclops), Prešern’s Found Award (2012 for performances Macbeth after Shakespeare, Sallinger, Little Mermaid, Ma&Al, Hunting scenes from lower Bavaria, Cyclops, Werther and Cat on a hot tin roof).

Selection of critics

»The director Ivica Buljan shaped the passage from deep non-understanding and disunion very physically and verbally rough, filled with barrier destruction through fighting and noise, in order to transform the relation into a union of passion, yearning and need. Ivica Buljan was excellent in accentuating the physical contact as the crucial switch from isolation into connectedness.« Igor Tretinjak, Within the Space of Unpredictable;

»The performer’s body in Buljan’s work is never only a physical presence as such in its bare phenomenality but is, at the least, also the epicenter of energy radiation or energy transfigurations - in an attempt to »negate« individual corporeality or to break the “discontinuity of being” in the Bataillean sense that tends towards a reintegration into the entirety of the flow (joining fertility and death).« Tina Leskošek, The Performative Locus of the Performative, On the Telos of the Body in Ma and Al and Ivica Buljan's Performance Procedures; Maska

»The characters in Buljan’s production are rarely still, they pulsate incessantly, avoid static and vibrate internally. Between them there exists a Lyotard-like current of energy which grows throughout the performance in convergence of all its elements and there is nothing external that could prevent this.« BIaž Lukan, Concealed Movemet of the Stage: Theatre of Ivica Buljan;  Maska

»In a fragmentary textual structuring glued together by parts performed non-verbally a line of scenes is created offering narration through different forms of expression about the two spouses. Their bond has been broached by antagonism and embraced by the power of injudicious behaviour, yet it is still preserved in their basic connection which is love and mutual persistence /.../ Ma and Al with the closure of the re-marriage scene appears to be above all a theatrically irrepressible performance loaded in the physical body presence. « Ana Perne, Physically loaded, theatrically irrepressible performance; Dnevnik

»Ma and Al is a brilliant play, thanks to extraordinary actors who amaze us with a brilliant physical theater, and the  director who through the choice of theatrical actions and scenery, achieves the atmosphere of neurotic destructiveness that illustrates the relationship between main characters, or anti-characters to be more precise.« Zrinka Zorčec, Vjesnik

»The acting of two actors of such excellence could definitely not suffer even if there were no other props upon the stage. These are few anyhow, but the most visible element in this performance is most certainly their strong energy, their way of presenting the three monologues, their capability of leaping from one role to another, of being tragic and turn to comic the very next moment – and everything with no triviality whatsoever.« Nika Jurov, Ma and Al, Senka and Marko;  Sigledal

»The performance Ma and Al by Ivica Buljan represents a new step for this brilliant and several times awarded director. Through extreme despair and trying to get out of it, trying to get rid of ghosts from the past, the two actors, Marko Mandić and Senka Bulić, representing the Glass family, lured me into their private cosmos where the usual inter-human standards exist no more; where there is just the domination of all or nothing, the radical emotions, the alliance, the humiliation, the recognition of values, the annihilation… An extraordinary evening.« Polona Vetrih; Mladina


Judita Award for Marko Mandić at the Split Summer Festival (Split, Croatia)

Best Performance Award at the International Theatre Festival SkupiFestival (Skopje, Macedonia)

Award for Marko Mandić at the SKUP' Festival (Ptuj, Slovenia)

Festivals and tours

Festival Perforacije (Dubrovnik, Croatia), Teatar &TD (Zagreb, Croatia), Goričke večeri (Velika Gorica, Croatia), Maribor Borštnik Theatre Festival (Maribor, Slovenia) International Theatre Festival SkupiFestival (Skopje, Macedionia), International Ankara Theatre Festival (Ankara, Turkey), Festival of International Alternative Theatre (Podgorica, Montenegro), Festival Perforacije (New York City, USA), Splitsko ljeto (Split, Croatia), Zadar Snova Festival (Zadar, Croatia), Maladype Theatre (Budapest, Hungary), Center for Cultural Decontamination (Belgrade, Serbia), SKUP' Festival (Ptuj, Slovenia), IETM - Festival Perforacije (Zagreb, Croatia).